Reflections on Mindfulness and Career from Vivisum’s Newest Employee


About a month ago I was offered a job at Vivisum doing … well I wasn’t really sure at the time. I did not know a great deal about what Vivisum did or what type of career I would be getting into if I accepted. I think it’s natural for people to be fearful of the uncertain, the unknown and the mysterious. I know I certainly was. However, the idea of infinite possibility is probably one of the most common aspects of our day. We are shrouded by unlimited choices, paths and actions, yet we never think twice about them. The obvious answer would be that we constantly calculate probabilities and impacts of our day-to-day choices and choose not to fret over the small ones. I don’t think I can accept this reasoning. It definitely holds in certain cases, but I believe there is something else at play. I think when things become day-to-day and day-in-day-out we numb our emotions towards our choices. We shut down our senses towards the possibility of countless possibilities. Then when a massive decision comes our way, we overshoot ourselves into overreaction and flood ourselves with emotions that fuel our doubt of the infinite. This realm of numbness and flooding is always due to a lack of mindfulness. I was faced with a massive choice. Accepting the job offer at Vivisum would change my life drastically, and not only that, I had no idea what the job entailed. I would be relocating and choosing a career that would set the stage for years to come. For a second I let the emotion take ahold of me and I thought and thought and thought. I panicked and thought some more. Would I like living in Durham? What if I don’t like Vivisum? What if I don’t like what I do? Will I be happy in 5 years? While this only lasted a couple of minutes, it felt like the questions went on for an eternity. Finally, I stopped and recalled the words that my dad passed on to me when I have been faced with these choices. He always tells me before every major life event, “Give yourself the permission not to know”. These are words that I have tried to live by for as long as I can remember.[pullquote]Give yourself the permission not to know[/pullquote]We can’t know what is going to happen and we are often wrong even in certainty. The world is filled with the infinite and we must try our best to get used to that. I don’t know if accepting the job and Vivisum was the correct choice. I don’t know if I will be happy in 5 years. I don’t know what I will be doing in the future. I don’t know a great deal. I do know that I can be mindful of the present and understand that I am on a journey into the unknown. I do know that the more I learn the less I know. I do know that things will never be laid out and that is something to be happy about.This is not the first time I have been faced with a life changing decision and it certainly won’t be the last. All we can do is learn to welcome the choices, welcome the voyage, welcome the uncertainty, and welcome the infinite.

Patrick Brunell is a Director at Vivisum Partners. Patrick specializes in market research moderation and project management. Email Patrick at patrick.brunell@vivisumpartners.com